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A NEW gambling clinic is set to open in Southampton this year as the NHS faces record demand for support.
The new clinic will open in May alongside a clinic in Stoke-On-Trent, bringing the number of specialist clinics in England to seven.
It comes after the NHS announced it would stop taking money from the gambling industry for the treatment of people with addictions.
NHS England National Mental Health Director Claire Murdoch has written to the charity GambleAware to say the NHS will fully fund its own gambling services from April 1.
Ms Murdoch said: “Gaming addiction is a cruel mental health condition that can devastate people’s lives.
“The opening of two new gambling clinics in May, as part of our £2.3 billion investment in mental health services, will mean we can help even more people with the most serious gambling problems. serious.
“It is also only right that the NHS now funds these clinics independently, recognizing the damaging effects this addiction can have on the mental health of the country, and that the predatory tactics of gaming companies are part of the problem, not of the solution.”
Overall, around 0.5% of the UK’s adult population, or around 246,000 people, are thought to be at risk of some form of gambling addiction and 2.2 million are at risk.
Ms Murdoch said the funding decision was ‘heavily influenced’ by patients who were not comfortable using industry-paid services – a view that was echoed by doctors .
GambleAware’s accounts show it raised £16million between April and December last year in voluntary donations from the gambling industry to fund a range of processing services.
These include NHS gambling clinics, which received £1.2million in 2020/21.
The two new clinics will join those in London, Leeds, Manchester, Sunderland and the National Clinic for Children and Young People in London, which is operating as a pilot project.
All services are to be evaluated later this year, which should lead to further clinics.